Women's rights groups vowed to fight the Trump administration's official policy allowing some companies to opt out of providing birth control coverage to female employees, after the policy was finalized late Wednesday.
Religious organizations, nonprofits, and small businesses will be able to refuse coverage to women due to so-called "religious or moral objections"—reversing an Obama-era policy under the Affordable Care Act which required employers to cover contraception as part of basic preventative healthcare.
Yesterday made it clear: we want our elected officials to protect our reproductive rights.
But to the Trump admin, that means trying ONCE AGAIN to restrict access to birth control.
— Planned Parenthood Action (@PPact) November 7, 2018
"On the heels of an election that saw major pro-choice gains in governors' mansions, the House of Representatives, and in state houses across the country, the Trump administration is throwing a bone to its anti-choice base in a disgraceful effort to roll back reproductive healthcare access for hundreds of thousands of Americans," said Adrienne Kimmel, vice president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. "This rule, which gives practically any employer a license to discriminate against their employees, reflects a backwards ideology, and one that women across the country last night made clear they will not stand for."
The attorneys general of California and Pennsylvania sued the Trump administration over the policy proposal last year, with the latter, Attorney General Josh Shapiro, accusing Trump of undermining "the health and economic independence of American women."
"Donald Trump wants businesses and corporations to control family planning decisions rather than a woman in consultation with her doctor. These anti-women's health regulations prove once again that the Trump administration is willing to trample on people's rights," said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra at the time. "What group of Americans will they target next? Will they allow businesses to deny you cancer treatment?"
Nationwide injunctions were granted in both cases, which are now pending in appeals courts.
On Wednesday, Planned Parenthood called on Americans to ask lawmakers to speak out forcefully against the policy and called it a clear assault on the Affordable Care Act's provisions.
"Yesterday the American people overwhelmingly said healthcare was their number one concern," said Dr. Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood, referring to the midterm elections. "Not even 24 hours later, Trump is attacking our reproductive rights, hoping that by denying birth control he can gut the ACA. We won't let him."